Tragedy Strikes: Rugby Club Member’s Mysterious Disappearance

Santa Rosa Rugby Club member Nasoni (Tony) Tuitoga, 28, tragically drowned in the Russian River, California on Wednesday. The young athlete was swimming when he was pulled under by a whirlpool and never resurfaced.

In an interview with KTVU FOX 2, Tuitoga’s friend Joe Quai Hoi recounted the harrowing event. “We were yelling out to him when we saw him swimming in circles, asking if he was okay, but he didn’t respond before disappearing underwater,” Quai Hoi said.

After two days of searching, Tuitoga’s body was found about 30-40 feet from where he had last been seen.

Tuitoga’s mother, Lavenia Cavora Tuinaceva Tuitoga, expressed her sorrow, noting that his friends had tried to save him but were unable to. “I’m going to miss him so much, his smile,” she said. “I just keep asking God to give us peace in our hearts.”

Originally from Naivicula, Wainibuka, Tailevu with maternal ties to Matuku, Lau, Tuitoga was cherished by the Santa Rosa Rugby Club. The club honored him in a social media post, saying, “It’s a sad day in our rugby community. We lost one of our players this week, Tony (Nasoni Tuitoga Jr), and our team won’t be the same without his energy. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”

Tuitoga is survived by his parents, Lavenia and Nasoni Tuitoga, and his two older brothers, Mikaele and Alipate Tuitoga.

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